Media Release: Kokirihia

March 20, 2023

Kōkirihia – the plan for removing streaming from our schools will be launched in Christchurch today.

Led by Tokona te Raki, supported by the Ministry of Education (MoE), and endorsed by the Mātauranga Iwi Chairs Group (MILG), Kōkirihia is a collaboration of the expertise of the country’s key education agencies (MoE, MILG, ERO, CORE Education, PLANZ, NZEI, PPTA, NZQA, Canterbury University, University of Auckland, school principals and rangatahi) who came together in 2021 to form a design team to develop the plan.

“This is a ground-breaking approach in that it has brought multiple stakeholders together to design the solution to a systemic issue. It is an exciting and huge step forward in creating a much-needed shift, one that will give all our kids a chance to realise their full potential on their journey – whatever it may be.

“Streaming or ability grouping is so ingrained in our teaching practice that it has become largely invisible and widely accepted. Kōkirihia is a welcome catalyst for change,” says Piripi Prendergast, Tokona te Raki Project Lead.

The plan which includes the whakapapa of streaming is designed to grow awareness of the issue, showcase alternatives, and outline the actions the key agencies have committed to, to ensure the end goal of removing streaming from our schools is achieved by 2030.

While the negative impacts of streaming are widespread among all demographics, the research shows that it is particularly damaging for Māori and Pacific children. The result is an education system with huge disparities and inequities.

“If we look at the treatment of Māori in our education system, we see the age-old stereotypes of Māori as being ‘good at sport, music, and dance’ or ‘kinaesthetic learners’ – good with their hands, but the bit not often spoken but implied – not with their minds.

“It is evidenced in the research which shows that Māori and Pacific students are more likely to be incorrectly placed in bottom groups and classes, and that it damages self-esteem and confidence and limits career pathways,” says Dr Hana O’Regan, Lead technician, Mātauranga Iwi Chairs Group/CEO CORE Education Tātai Aho Rau.

New Zealand continues to have one of the highest rates of ability grouping in the OECD (second only to Ireland) despite the substantive evidence highlighting the damage it causes for many students and the growing movement for its removal. In October 2022 the PPTA unanimously passed a policy at its national conference – Ending Streaming in Aotearoa – which advocates strongly for its removal and for ensuring that appropriate resourcing is available to enable a successful shift.

“Access to the best possible education outcomes is a birthright of every child in Aotearoa but this is currently not the reality for many. Whether or not we realise it, or want to acknowledge it, streaming is yet another example of the systemic racism that is alive and well in so many sectors of our society. We are however riding the tide of change. The recent passing of the PPTA’s policy statement is an exciting and bold move towards positive change, it sends a strong message and reinforces the work of the Kōkirihia design team in bringing the action plan to life.

“The launch of Kōkirihia provides hope that we are paddling our way towards a fair and equitable Aotearoa come the 200-year anniversary of Te Tiriti o Waitangi”, says Dr Eruera Tarena, Executive Director, Tokona te Raki.


For more information or to arrange an interview please contact Adrienne Anderson on 021 913 274 or email: